Natural clays can help in the fight against bacteria

Nodule of Oregon blue clay, coated with red clay and sulfur crystals encased in white clay.  (Credit: Lynda Williams/NSF)
Nodule of Oregon blue clay, coated with red clay and sulfur crystals encased in white clay. (Credit: Lynda Williams/NSF)

Main Point:

Natural clay (such as Oregon Blue clay) can help in killing a broad range of bacterial pathogens including antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Published in:

Scientific Reports

Study Further:

Researchers have reported that natural antibacterial clays upon hydration and topical application can kill human pathogens and these pathogens also include antibiotic resistant strains. They noted that only certain clays are bactericidal in nature. Those clays having soluble reduced metals along with expandable clay minerals that can absorb cations, have an ability for extended metal release and creation of toxic hydroxyl radicals (thereby attacking bacteria).

Researchers wrote that soluble Fe2+ and Al3+ are among the most important antibacterial components that can promote killing of pathogens by attacking multiple cellular systems. They provided the mechanisms also; Al3+ misfolds the proteins of cell membranes and Fe2+ promotes membrane oxidation. Fe2+ also enters the cytoplasm causing hydroxyl radical attack on DNA and intracellular proteins.

Researchers also reported that this geochemical method of attacking and killing bacteria is more effective as compared to metal solutions alone. It also provides an alternative antibacterial strategy for killing bacteria.

“Discovery of this bactericidal mechanism demonstrated by natural clays should guide designs of new mineral-based antibacterial agents,” Researchers wrote.


Morrison, K., Misra, R., & Williams, L. (2016). Unearthing the Antibacterial Mechanism of Medicinal Clay: A Geochemical Approach to Combating Antibiotic Resistance Scientific Reports, 6 DOI: 10.1038/srep19043

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."

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